Rockingham County school receives grant to increase outdoor learning

The grant will help the school plant a garden and build a greenhouse.

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Lacey Spring Elementary School was awarded a $5,000 grant from The Chesapeake Bay Trust to help in the school's outdoor learning and environmental education efforts.

According to The Chesapeake Bay Trust, the grant comes from its mini educational grant program in partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Autumn Pequignot, a kindergarten teacher, was the one who applied for the grant. She said the school wants to continue implementing outdoor and sustainable activities for students.

"They just love being outdoors. They love learning out here. We've had this outdoor classroom space for a while and we do all of our lessons as often as we can outside," said Pequignot.

Money from this grant will pay for more than 400 students to participate in a field experience in Shenandoah National Park and Ag-venture Day at Lacey Spring.

It will also go toward putting in a greenhouse where teachers hope to plant native plants. Another project involves putting in a school garden that will encourage sensory touching, tasting, and smelling.

Branson Arbagast is a fourth-grade student and said he enjoys learning about the environment and is excited about having a school garden.

"I just like to see schools being really healthy and stuff and, like, having gardens is probably part of it and not littering," said Arbagast.

Pequignot said that the teachers want to grow healthy foods so the kids can have them at their healthy food buffet. Another idea is to have students make their own salsa with vegetables from the garden and do a salsa bar for classmates.